Friday, 15 April 2011

Book Launch for "History of the Wicht Family And Their Farm Blouwaterbaai"


We are delighted to announce that the book "History of the Wicht family and their farm Blouwaterbaai in Sal­danha Bay 1943-2003" is now available as a (limited edition) hard copy for sale. It is also available as ibook on the family website (www.wicht.co.za) where you can read it at your leisure. 

To celebrate the nearly 60 years the Wicht family have lived on the farm, you are invited to join us at Blouwaterbaai on the 4th of June for a riotous lunch-time book launch. Alethea Wicht and her band 'Lady Bass' (www.ladybass.co.za) will be in attendance to regale us. 


To attend, please RSVP to jolene@wicht.co.za. For those of you who might consider travelling from afar, the family farm is now an exquisite seaside hotel and is offering a special rate for the occasion (www.blouwaterbaai.com).

Blouwaterbaai tribe
The book is a testament to the adventures of Henry and Babeta Wicht on the derelict seaside land they bought in 1953 that finally realized their dreams of a family farm with a river running through it and a view of Table Mountain. While on war leave from Egypt during WW2, Henry visited his father who was stationed in Saldanha Bay. He fell in love with the small fishing village and immediately brought his new bride to do some house hunting. Despite howls of protestations from family and friends, they used all their savings to buy a dilapidated house perched on sand dunes, overrun by snakes and spiders, with an endless stretch of private beach, in the sheltered bay of Saldanha. They moved onto the property in 1958 with their 6 young children, and soon begat 3 more. With no money to speak of (other than a meager salary as a military officer) but armed with plenty of faith, hope and probably a little bit of charity, they slowly build a magnificent family home and prosperous farm on the water's edge.

The chapters in the book cover the full gambit of their life on the farm, from their struggles to make the farm pay prior to the discovery of the manna from the sea that washed up on the beach, to the first Sea Harvest Festival in 1960, the building of the family restaurant Meresteijn, and chapters from all 9 siblings with their recollection of life on the farm.

The creation of this book is an amazing tribute to the tenacity, spirit and determination of Jolene Wicht who, in taking her cue from Henry and Babeta, just did it!

To quote Jolene:

“The idea to compile this family history book was prompted in January 2010 when the house of my oldest brother, Johan, burnt to the ground, destroying not just his lifelong collection of books, paintings and memories but also some of the Hofmeyr and Wicht memorabilia. Had my mother’s many albums and scrapbooks been stored in his house it would have been destroyed, along with all their notes, photographs and diaries. I thank God that her collection was in safe keeping in the family home, Blue Bay Lodge, at the time.”

“With humble beginnings and a family of nine children to support, the wonderful story of my parents time on the farm unfolds in this book through the vast collection of newspaper articles, memoirs, and photos that my mother accumulated.

Book unveiling at Bluewaterbaai
“I started the book in April 2010 by delving into what felt like an endless treasure of source material that also at times felt like a bottomless pit. After going though the numerous scrapbooks and scanning in photos, I would then visit one of my many siblings to discover that they too had a few scrapbooks and albums given to them by darling mum. It took a few months to find my stride and resist the temptation to give up and to run away from the enormity of the task.”

“The book is designed to pay tribute to their love and dedication to serve, not only family, but also the local community, especially those less privileged than us. An inspiration to me has been the annual record and newsletters of the family written and printed by our dapper grandfather Dr  Harold (Pal) Hofmeyr in the 1960 and 1970's  –  The Hofmeyr Reporter. It has reminded me again how important it is to record your family history for generations to follow. And also how short our life is – too often we only get to know your parents once they are no longer with us. The life lessons and traditions are also so important. I cried and laughed as I re-discovered my childhood, and only hope and pray that our children will carry on with this tradition for their families.” 

“I hope you enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed reliving their dreams, adventures, struggles and triumphs. I dedicate this book to my parents indomitable spirit who taught us that with faith and love, anything is possible. Also to all those who knew, loved and supported them on their journey; to my brothers and sisters; and to the next generations and the generations to follow – may this serve to anchor you in the long line of those who came before you, and on whose shoulders you now stand. 


And may this book help you realise that it is pointless to resist that spirit of adventure that flows though you – it is your family blood!”

Paul, the youngest Wicht sibling, enjoying his book.


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